Fourteen 2013 Posts Leading Us Into 2014

Every year at this time I try to come up with a different way to address what came during the past year. Last year I did a post titled 12 Things “I’m Just Sharing” Addressed In 2012 and it didn’t get viewed all that well, most probably because it went live on Christmas Eve instead of at the end of the year, or some time between Christmas and the end of the year. The post I wrote for the last day of the year was actually one of my most popular posts of 2012, although most people probably read it in 2013, that being The Last Post Of 2012 Is About…, where I talked about marketing and promoting on social media. That post actually led me to create a video that was one of my most watched of the year, and instead of putting it at the end like I usually do I’m posting it now:
 


 

Anyway, I wanted a different way to present my favorite and top posts of 2013, and I had some problems whittling down my list this year because even though I wrote fewer posts, I feel like I put more effort into more posts. Thus, I couldn’t figure out which of the remaining posts I should get rid of and just decided to go with 14, which is rare for me because I don’t normally like even numbers; yeah, it’s a superstition of mine. But I’ve made it work.

Someone might ask “why highlight posts written earlier in the year, especially if I can’t comment on them”? One, because blog visitors who might come often now probably weren’t readers earlier in the year and thus didn’t see these posts. Two, it’s great SEO. And three, topics don’t become invalid just because one can’t comment on them. You never know if something written earlier will still be helpful now. On Twitter people always post links to posts that are older, and most of the time those posts offer something important. That’s what I’m trying to do here, and it’s something most of you who write a lot of posts in a year should consider as well.

Let’s get to it:

Girl 8
Rolands Lakis
via Compfight

What’s Wrong With Being Nice? – Too many people mistake kindness for weakness and I think it’s made this a much meaner world than it should be.

How Do You Accept Criticism? – We all hate criticism but many of us like advice and just don’t know how to ask for it properly.

We’re All Right And We’re All Wrong About Blogging – There’s a lot of us writing about blogging and some of us disagree, but that doesn’t mean that we might not all be correct; now there’s a scary concept.

5 Ways Blogging Is Like Visiting A New Store – All blogs aren’t supposed to be exactly the same, and sometimes visiting a new blog is just like going into a new store selling something you might like for the first time.

You Can’t Please Everyone So Start With Pleasing Yourself – A lot of bloggers feel that you should write all your content with other people in mind first, whereas I tend to believe that writers should write for themselves first and try to make it a pleasant experience for others if they wish to be read.

Decorum And Censorship – Why do some people think that brutal honesty deserves to be said and expected to remain in other people’s spaces when it’s not called for and isn’t helpful?

What Does It Take To Be An Expert? – This one got a lot of attention because some people think experts have to know it all and I disagreed with that concept.

Patience
AuthenticAng11 via Compfight

5 Ways To Deal With Problems Positively – We all encounter problems in our lives, but for the most part our demeanor in addressing them can make many of those problems seem petty.

Blogging For The Right Reasons – The idea for this one actually came from a Google Hangout where we were discussing whether or not blogging is hard.

Your Blog Is Irking Me; Check These Gripes Out – Another popular blog post as I talked about things that, well, irk me when I visit other blogs, and it seems I got a lot of agreement on it.

A Fine Line Between Courage And Irritating – Sales people believe that just because someone says no once or even 50 times that one day you’ll be able to get them to buy something from you. Do you see that as courageous or irritating?

Hot To Write A Guest Post – As much as I was irritated by guest posting request and what I had to read and edit this year, I still wrote a couple of guest posts for others and decided it was time to teach others how to properly write guest posts.

7 Ways To Know You’re Getting Bad SEO Linking Advice – I’m always seeing all these gloom and doom posts about SEO, getting penalized and de-listed, and generally bad advice from people you think should know what they’re talking about. Thus, it was time to jump into the fray.

More Concepts on Writing – I love writing and I love reading what other people write. But there are so many more people who think it’s hard and, sometimes when I read certain things, it seems to be for them.

By the way, when it came to true engagement, not all of the articles above ended up in the top 5 as far as comments go. I have to say that the top 5 includes 7 posts because 3 ended up tied for 5th place. The one article not linked to is linked to above. Here’s the top 5:

20131128_142806
Happy heading into
the New Year

Interview With Brian D. Hawkins Of Hot Blog Tips65

How Do You Accept Criticism? 57

Don’t Be Bullied About Your Blog Or Web Space50

To End Or Reduce Blogging – The Conversation49

Is Social Media Giving You Everything You Need42

5 Reasons You Need To Have A Gravatar42

Are You Offending People Away From Your Blogs Or Websites?42

I think that’s enough of that. I want to thank all of you who visited I’m Just Sharing in 2013 and after this post I’m 20 away from 1,500; based on my current pace I should hit that sometime in February. Have fun, be safe, and I’ll see you again in 2014.
 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2013 Mitch Mitchell

It’s All About Focus – Goal Setting For 2014

A couple of days ago I did a video about my goals for 2014, which is embedded below. In essence, I talked about 7 goals I have for the new year, and there’s one in particular I want to address in this article because I think it’s probably the most important one for me and for all of you; yes, I said that.

Nina Matthews via Compfight

I haven’t written all that often about the term “focus” on this blog. I’ve certainly addressed it a few times on my business blog, mainly because that blog talks about leadership and behavior more often, thus it’s a good thing to address over there. So, in a slightly different vein, here are a couple of links to that blog to articles on “focus” that I think connect to this topic very well:

6 Ways Focus Can Help You

Lack Of Focus Will Mess You Up

The reason I think focus is going to be my biggest goal this year is because I’ve noticed as I’ve reached my middle 50’s that I really don’t focus on things as well as I used to. I’m not sure if it’s age or diabetes or diabetes medication or lack of sleep but focus is lacking across the board. I have found that when I write things down that I actually get more things done, and that’s good. However, I don’t write things down enough and that’s bad.

What will focus do for me, and for you? Focus allows us to complete things we start. Actually, focus allows us to evaluate those things to see if we should even do them. I don’t know how many blogs I’ve read where the writer talks about a project they started, got to a certain point and realized that their heart wasn’t in it any longer, or that they realized they might not get out of it what they had hoped for.

In my case, I started the SEO part of my business in 2007 with the working goal of building websites, optimizing them to that they would rank well and give business owners a chance to compete with others in their industry. Six years later I realize that I really don’t like sitting down and creating websites all that much now, that more people love templates and want something simple that they can change on their own, and they all want “pretty”, which won’t get most of them any traffic at all but it’s hard to convince them of that.

paco de lucia:entre dos aguas
Lali Masriera via Compfight

Instead, I’ve changed the focus of that blog to talking more about SEO and social media interactions and website evaluation. And yet, though the focus of that site has changed, I haven’t fully embraced it, probably because the health care side of my business still drives the overwhelming majority of my income, and even though SEO and the like is way more fun, including blogging, when all is said and done the bills have to be paid and there’s stuff I want and need to buy. I talk about some of that in the video.

As I talk about my goals in the video, including focus, I also ask people if they set goals, if they’re willing to share any of the big goals, if they want help in reaching and focusing on their goals, and a whole lot of other stuff. I missed talking about the 6th year anniversary of this blog, which was on December 12th, because I was still out of town on my consulting assignment and I wasn’t focused on the milestone; sigh… I’m also realizing now that after this one I’m 20 posts away from 1,500, another milestone that, this time around, I want to make sure I don’t forget.

Meanwhile, I want to share this with you. I’ve never talked about it on this blog, but I have shared it a few times on my business blog. This link leads you to a PDF called the Reserve Index. It’s a self evaluation of where you are now and where you want to be, and there are 100 points to see where you are on the list and to determine where you might want to be. I’ve done it periodically and I’ve scored as high as 26 and as low as 7; no, those aren’t great scores.

If you’re honest you’ll see there are some things you’ll never do because you don’t want to, but a lot of things you probably do want but aren’t really working towards. I’m going to do it again within the next couple of days and use that to help me focus on things over the course of the year. And I mention something in the video that I think would be well worth your time, effort and dollars as well, and I’m getting no money from it. lol

With all of that said it’s time to let this post go to the video, and I hope that some of you watch it. If not, I hope some of you got enough from this post to comment on it; let’s find out.
 


 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2013 Mitch Mitchell

Insomnia Issues; Ugh!

The last couple of weeks have been a nightmare. I’m not sleeping much, and that’s not good long term. The last great night of sleep I got was when I went to bed on Saturday the 7th at 1:30AM and woke around 11AM. And it felt good. Since then I’ve slept little, including this past Saturday when I stayed in bed 9 hours but probably slept 5, and Monday night when I stayed in bed 9 hours and once again might have gotten 5 hours, and that was after not sleeping for more than 36 hours, which isn’t close to a record, but at my age is something I can’t afford to do as often as when I was younger.

I’m not angry; I was just
trying to keep my eyes open
for the picture lol

What could the issue be? I have absolutely no idea. When I started using the CPAP again (I actually have a BiPAP but it’s so much easier typing CPAP lol) I thought it would mean that I’d be getting better sleep than in the past.

Well, in actuality that’s partially happened. It seems that I’m kind of a violent sleeper, but the CPAP helps me start breathing sooner than before I got it. However, during the night it measures my breathing, pushing air harder when I stop and it doesn’t seem to go back down once it’s ramped up. At least it’s never down when I eventually wake up, which is usually when I still have time to sleep because I have to figure out how to adjust my breathing. If I turn it off & start over I can’t breathe because I’m breathing harder than the machine is ready for so I have to catch up to the machine and hope I don’t wake myself up before I get there.

So I do wake up feeling better physically, but not necessarily mentally all the time because I’m still not sleeping enough. A CPAP will affect the quality, not the quantity of sleep. And that’s the major issue here, as I had that CPAP on the entire time I tried to sleep when I didn’t fall asleep, which means at least I was breathing well, and I actually felt pretty good at work because of that.

But this post isn’t about CPAP or BiPAP issues; it’s about sleep, the act of trying to get to sleep and staying asleep and what works or doesn’t work well. I can’t say that anything has ever put me to sleep but some things have helped me sleep longer here and there, but I’ve rarely awakened feeling all that good. That’s what I’m sharing in this post. Maybe you’ve tried some of these and maybe you have something to offer instead, but this is one of those “diversion” posts from blogging or social media; after all, this blog is called I’m Just Sharing after all. 🙂

Let’s start with Zzzquil, the alcohol-free brother of Nyquil. Nyquil is good to help you get to sleep when you’re sick but it’s not the thing you should take when you’re not sick, and hasn’t worked on me when I tried it anyway. Zzzquil is supposed to put you to sleep but that’s it. Well, it doesn’t work; at least on me. Turns out its main ingredient is diphenhydramine. Ever heard of Benadryl? What is it; diphenhydramine! Basically, it’s a cold medicine with a side effect for some people of drowsiness. If you’re someone who seems to be prone to side effects then this will probably work for you; not me however.

Next, melatonin. It’s not really supposed to put you to sleep, but you may possibly feel drowsy after taking it. This is problematic if you don’t have a lot of hours to sleep because, it turns out, the safest recommended dosage is 1mg and most of the bottles you find come in 5mg doses, and the warning is that it might make you feel groggy after waking up. That part is true; unless I have 9 hours to kill trying to sleep, which is rare, I can’t take this stuff, which doesn’t put me to sleep anyway.

Next, someone recommended magnesium. I could easily rule that one out because I’ve taken that in combination with potassium for years. Since I still have sleeping issues, that’s a non-starter.

Next, hot tea. Most people recommend chamomile, green tea, or other “clear teas” that have no taste; yeah, I said that! What’s the main thing about them? That don’t have any caffeine in them, that’s what. The idea of hot tea is that it’s supposed to be calming having that warm feeling running through your body and relaxing you. Some say the same thing about warm milk, although I see fewer people recommending that these days. I’ve given that a try but I’m the type where, if I don’t like the taste, I’m not really going to do it more than once if it doesn’t work; and it didn’t. I even tried something my wife recommended called Sleepytime; nope, nada.

Me_Shaniece01
This baby would sleep only as
long as I held her; I’m not asleep

Some have recommended getting a boring book to read because it’ll dull your mind and bore you enough to sleep. You know, once I left school that trick never worked on me, and I realized books were boring because teachers were boring and you were trying hard to remember stuff you couldn’t learn from your teachers. There are books I’ve tried to read that I didn’t like because they were confusing (Tale Of Two Cities; I wish I could slap Dickens for that one) but boring? I’ve read books on ethics, history, religion, multiple sciences, leadership, making money, personal growth, Harry Potter… and loved them all!

Some people can fall asleep to music; I can’t. There have been times where I’ve had to use music to calm me down some because, for whatever reason, often when I go to bed my heart starts beating hard and my mind starts thinking of all sorts of things and I hear this weird beat in my head that doesn’t match up to any songs I’ve ever heard in my life; weird!

When it gets too bad I pop on some music, classical, and I select the “calm” movements of my favorite pieces like the 2nd movements of many piano concertos, or the 2nd movement of Beethoven’s 5th symphony. Words… anything with words and my mind either sings along with them or tries to figure them out. Did you ever know the song was called Judy in Disguise instead of Judy in the Sky, and that the guy who wrote it was inspired by the Beatles Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds, another song that makes no sense? lol

I sound like a mess don’t I? But I know I’m not the only one with these issues. What’s left? Some people suggest turning off any stimulus an hour before you go to bed. What are you supposed to do for an hour before going to bed if you do that? Some people say meditation. I tried that but instead of peace I start thinking about people I wish I could get back for some imagined or real indiscretions against me in the past, get riled up, and sleep isn’t happening at that point.

You know, those times when you wish you’d said that magnificent thing as a retort to something someone else said and now you’ve figured out what the proper response should have been, and you start wondering if you could find that person and say it now, only to realize that even if you could find them and say it they’d stare at you because it probably means nothing to them now?

Or those people who wronged you that you wish you could find, take them out in the woods, tie them to a tree, then shoot them in each of their arms and legs with a crossbow until they fully understand that they shouldn’t have messed with you and lied about you and tried to damage your life, even if you’ve accomplished some pretty nice things that you could throw in their faces but the crossbow would feel so good? You’ve never had that feeling? Never mind! lol Anyway, meditation is supposed to bring you peace; I know I’m doing it wrong.

I have found only one thing that really works, and it’s something I can’t really do on the road. That one thing is… stay up as late as I possibly can, exhausting myself until I can’t think anymore, and then going to bed. That’s it! When I’m working from home I often stay up until 3 or 4 in the morning, and I’m on social media or writing and people see me and are amazed that it’s actually me talking to them live. Works well talking to people on the West Coast or in other countries. But when I’m on a work project… nope, just can’t do that when you have to be somewhere at a certain time and put in a full day’s work. I do that when I have meetings when I’m at home because I know I can come back home and go back to bed if necessary, but I can’t do it now.

So, I’ll be back home at midnight on Friday, and I don’t have to be at the bank until 11:30AM to pay mortgage, which means I can stay up until 4AM if need be, since I’ll probably only sleep 6 or 7 hours, and even though I won’t be perfect it’ll probably be the best I’ve felt in 3 weeks. It’s not something I recommend for everyone unless you can do it, though my friend Mitchell Allen is living my dream of sleeping when he wants to for a few hours, working, then sleeping again; sigh…


Carlos Huerta via Compfight

I’m not saying my way is best for anyone; it might not be best for me. But all those other things I mentioned… well, other than the CPAP (or BiPAP) to help you sleep better if you have apnea, I’m not the one to recommend any medication to help you sleep. I will add this though; sometimes I will take either an ibuprofen PM or acetaminophen PM to try to overcome some leg pain I might be having, and I think that might help me sleep better because it dulls the pain, but that’s it.

Whew, this was long, but I hope it wasn’t rambling and I hope it was somewhat entertaining. If I haven’t mentioned it here, what types of things do you find helps you to sleep? By the way, I don’t drink alcohol, never have, so if that’s your recommendation it’s one I won’t be trying. Go on, share! 🙂
 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2013 Mitch Mitchell

Spam I Don’t Understand

I’ve written about spam around 125 times out of the almost 1,500 posts on the blog. I’ve talked about how much I hate it, ways to identify it, why it’s important to keep it off your blog and how to move more of it to go directly to your spam filter so that you don’t necessarily have to rush to your blog to remove it from going live as often as you might without putting certain things in place.

And yet, like the reason I have to wear this mask on my present consulting assignment right now (that’s another story) I don’t always understand the purpose of some of the spam. Back in the day most spam looked to be trying to sell something. Nowadays a lot of it is so nonsensical that the only thing you can believe they’re hoping to achieve is to get a link placed on your blog so that it goes back to their page. Obviously some of those folks got bad SEO advice of a different sort than the bad advice I mentioned in that post I just linked to.

What am I seeing? Let’s chronicle some of it:

1. The long, rambling post about nothing. I got a spam comment from someone calling himself “best gym supplements for muscle growth“, and other than occasionally trying to pop a link into it the spam comment was almost 100 lines of nothingness. Someone must have been told that writing a long spam comment gives it a better chance to be thought of as being legitimate; please!

2. The comment with lots of characters in it. What the heck is this type about? I got this mess: “ѕuρp&X6c;eme&X6E;ts mаy also re&X6e;еw the respira&X74;ory”. The thing is I get lots of these and I’m betting you do as well. It’s not even close to readable so why even bother? I’m of the opinion someone’s technology has gone haywire; I wonder if spammers can get their money back.

3. The short, incomplete and nonsensical spam comment. I can’t believe anyone even took the time to actually write this, so it must be some kind of randomizer: “Just file manufacture clear subject matter. What did you say? precisely I needed! I have been before browsing search engines like google the complete day for some correct clause such as this” That was it; didn’t even finish the sentence. Intelligence obviously belongs to other family members.

4. Spam that attaches itself to an image. This one is totally incomprehensible. It shows up at the blog with nowhere to go except spam because it thinks the image is the blog post. I hope the spammers didn’t spend too much money on this program because it’s a total loser, like the spammer.

5. The “good post” spam. That one’s been around forever, as well as calling you “webmaster” and asking you if you’re using a free theme. I’m always amazed when I visit a blog and I see the owner actually responding to those comments; well, at least they’re trying to be a good host. 🙂

6. Spam that shows up without any links whatsoever. Why did the owner even bother sending that one out? By now most blogs probably won’t accept posts without a link because those are usually trolls and what benefit is a spammer hoping to get from something like that?

7. Copying a previous comment as one’s new comment. I have to admit this one’s creative, and it can be easily missed. I’ve missed it a couple of times, even though the Spidey senses went off thinking it looked familiar. This one was actually a legitimate comment… the first time around anyway.

The first link I put up on this post links you to many posts where I’ve talked about ways to protect your blog from some of the spam. I hope you’re using the GASP plugin and, if it’s really bad, go ahead and use Akismet, even though some people run from it like it’s a bull chasing them. We own these blog spaces, not them; don’t let them get you down or chase you away.

That’s all I have. LOL
 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2013 Mitch Mitchell

What Is The Holiday Spirit Anyway?

This might surprise some of you but I’m not a big holiday person. Over most of my years the only holiday I ever really cared about was Thanksgiving, and that was because the family was together for a very nice meal that I knew I was only getting once a year.

Vin
Glen Scott via Compfight

My dad’s favorite holiday was Christmas, but since Dad’s not physically with us any longer the spirit is gone for me. Mom has never liked holidays. As a child, Mom got really sick at every single major holiday for some reason which, as I think about it, I believe was stress related since she did all the cooking and wanted it to be special. My wife has never believed in holidays to begin with, and my grandmother, who also is no longer with us, was pretty even keeled no matter what the season or day was.

Over the last few days in the office where I’m working, one lady in particular has been pushing out the Christmas spirit on everyone else. I want to blame it on her being a minister’s wife, but truth be told her cellphone’s ringtone is Let It Snow, and it was that when she first came to work in the office back in July. Truthfully I think she’s a little addled, but she’s someone who seems to have this spirit around her that, while not necessarily happy, has a touch of innocence that’s touching in one way, irritating in another, and makes me laugh all day because she’s unintentionally funny. 🙂

I guess it’s this last one that I really want to address more than anything else. On my long post about how to write a guest post, I highlighted an article I wrote on Adrienne Smith’s blog about social networking that ended up getting a lot of responses. However, as I looked at many of those responses again, I realize that most people saw what I wrote in the context of marketing and making money online rather than building up relationships with other people, building trust that might lead someone to ask you what you do and think about buying from you. In my eyes the two things are exclusive from each other, but in the minds of so many the only real reason to be online is to try to make money.

I see that a lot on Google Plus. Most of the sharing is how people can market themselves there and almost everywhere else (Facebook excluded most of the time), how to build up the numbers, how to get more people to sign up for newsletters or voluntarily put their name on email lists, etc. It’s an interesting culture because so many of them use that as an excuse as to why they no longer like Facebook, although it seems the majority of people who officially leave Facebook do so because of worries about privacy, which I can fully understand while also saying that more of them needed to be a bit more perspicacious in their actions up front so that it wasn’t as big a worry as it turned out to be.

With that said I want to get back to my original question because I think it’s of utmost importance, especially since we’re in another holiday season, the biggest monetary holiday of the year. How do you view the concept of holiday spirit? Are your particular beliefs religious, economic, commercial, spiritual, or something else?

To me it’s a bigger question than you might think because I’m of the opinion that holiday spirit means nothing if you can’t find a way to capture that feeling year round, or at least often during the year without the need for a holiday. I believe that too many people miss the opportunities that are abundant for happiness, jocularity, contentment, peacefulness and calm feelings.

You want to know something? If I wanted to look at the week I’ve had to this point I could say that there are a few things that really could have made this one of the worst weeks I could think of. Instead, I rolled with the punches, found some humor in bad situations, and am still feeling pretty good tonight, even though I passed up the opportunity to buy both the glazed cake-icing filled donuts and the mint Oreos, which would have made me temporarily happy but would have probably hurt me on the back end; heck! lol

Is that a pretty good teaser for you to check out the video below? Maybe, maybe not, but I’ll ask this question of you instead, and it’s the question above with a second part to it. What do you believe the holiday spirit is, and how do you find ways to capture it during the year, if you do? Maybe the video below will help you formulate a response; let’s find out:
 


 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2013 Mitch Mitchell